Saturday, March 24, 2012

More new (and early) arrivals-Chipping Sparrow, Ruddy Ducks, Palm Warbler and more

Common Goldeneyes, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 24, 2012
Yesterday concluded our week long string of days with record setting temperatures with highs reaching the mid70’s to lower 80’s with lots of sun.  Today was a bit cooler with the high reaching (which is still well above normal).  The early arrival of several species including Eastern Phoebes, Tree Swallows, Pine Warblers and Song Sparrows were much in evidence.  Some great visual representations of the arrival of these species (and others) can be found on eBird at the following link:

Common Goldeneyes, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 24, 2012

Common Goldeneyes, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 24, 2012

Common Goldeneyes, Quabbin Park, MA, Mar 24, 2012
As I had some luck with waterfowl yesterday around dawn at Winsor Dam before I headed to work I decided to head over there again today.  I started predawn at the Route 9 marsh and had a pair of Great Horned Owls.  I then headed over to Winsor Dam.  There was not as much waterfowl on the water as yesterday here but I did find a pair of Bufflehead, a few Black Ducks plus a few Common Mergansers.  I then headed through Quabbin Park and had several singing Pine Warblers plus an early Chipping Sparrow.  At Hank's Meadow I had a few more Bufflehead way out along the shore of the Prescott Peninsula.  As I watched them I noticed some movement on the far shore and there was a Moose walking along the shore.  I tried a few photos but the distance was just too great.  The Moose disappeared back into the woods not to be seen again.  When I arrived at Goodnough Dike there were a few Ring-necked Ducks, a Common Loon and three Common Goldeneyes.  I originally sighted these birds from the administration road and then walked into Goodnough to get better looks.  The goldeneyes included an adult female and two 1st year males.  The odd part was variation in plumage of the two males.  I managed a few photos before a person walking the opposite way on the dike caused them to flush.  I got a few more distant flight shots as they left the area.  A stop back at the route 9 marsh on the way out produced several Wood Ducks, a few Hooded Mergansers and the typical Canada Geese and Mallards.
Ruddy Ducks (two of seven), Ludlow Reservoir, Ludlow, MA, Mar 24, 2012

Common Mergansers, Ludlow Reservoir, Ludlow, MA, Mar 24, 2012
I decided to head a bit south to the Ludlow Reservoir to see what that area might hold for waterfowl.  It is a great spot for Ruddy Ducks in the fall so I hoped to get some there in spring too.  I made it out to the open area and got a look out on the water.  A group of 50+ Common Mergansers came into view (oddly only two adult males).  I then spotted a Ruddy Duck and then a few more and then a few more.  A total of seven Ruddy Ducks were on the reservoir this morning and were the first ones of the season I have seen. Again more singing Pine Warblers and Eastern Phoebes here.
After my trips to Quabbin and Ludlow I came home to get Wilson and we headed to Covey WMA.  The clouds rapidly closed in for the day and the activity diminished as midday approached.  The best birds were a singing Winter Wren and more Pine Warblers.

Although I had several great birds today one of the best waited until this evening at home to show itself.   I came across a Palm Warbler here at home. Initially heard as I walked the dog for his evening walk. I had no binoculars or camera with me but I kept hearing the bird chip and it came into a tree perhaps 10 feet away, providing great naked eye looks. It was a male with a continuously pumping tail. It was seen at 6:35 along Jabish Brook and then moved down the stream out of view and I continued with my walk. I then heard it chip a few more times before I headed back to the house to get my camera. Despite much effort I was unable to relocate and get a photo.

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